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The Street of Seven Stars von Rinehart, Mary Roberts (eBook)

  • Verlag: Seltzer Books
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The Street of Seven Stars

According to Wikipedia: 'Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876-September 22, 1958) was a prolific author often called the American Agatha Christie.[1] She is considered the source of the phrase 'The butler did it', although she did not actually use the phrase herself, and also considered to have invented the 'Had-I-But-Known' school of mystery writing.... Rinehart wrote hundreds of short stories, poems, travelogues and special articles. Many of her books and plays, such as The Bat (1920) were adapted for movies, such as The Bat (1926), The Bat Whispers (1930), and The Bat (1959). While many of her books were best-sellers, critics were most appreciative of her murder mysteries. Rinehart, in The Circular Staircase (1908), is credited with inventing the 'Had-I-But-Known' school of mystery writing. The Circular Staircase is a novel in which 'a middle-aged spinster is persuaded by her niece and nephew to rent a country house for the summer. The house they choose belonged to a bank defaulter who had hidden stolen securities in the walls. The gentle, peace-loving trio is plunged into a series of crimes solved with the help of the aunt. This novel is credited with being the first in the 'Had-I-But-Known' school.'[3] The Had-I-But-Known mystery novel is one where the principal character (frequently female) does less than sensible things in connection with a crime which have the effect of prolonging the action of the novel. Ogden Nash parodied the school in his poem Don't Guess Let Me Tell You: 'Sometimes the Had I But Known then what I know now I could have saved at least three lives by revealing to the Inspector the conversation I heard through that fortuitous hole in the floor.' The phrase 'The butler did it', which has become a cliché, came from Rinehart's novel The Door, in which the butler actually did do it, although that exact phrase does not actually appear in the work.'

Produktinformationen

    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 623
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9781455332205
    Verlag: Seltzer Books
    Größe: 623 kBytes
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The Street of Seven Stars

CHAPTER XIV

For two days at Semmering it rained. The Raxalpe and the Schneeberg sulked behind walls of mist. From the little balcony of the Pension Waldheim one looked out over a sea of cloud, pierced here and there by islands that were crags or by the tops of sunken masts that were evergreen trees. The roads were masses of slippery mud, up which the horses steamed and sweated. The gray cloud fog hung over everything; the barking of a dog loomed out of it near at hand where no dog was to be seen. Children cried and wild birds squawked; one saw them not.

During the second night a landslide occurred on the side of the mountain with a rumble like the noise of fifty trains. In the morning, the rain clouds lifting for a moment, Marie saw the narrow yellow line of the slip.

Everything was saturated with moisture. It did no good to close the heavy wooden shutters at night: in the morning the air of the room was sticky and clothing was moist to the touch. Stewart, confined to the house, grew irritable.

Marie watched him anxiously. She knew quite well by what slender tenure she held her man. They had nothing in common, neither speech nor thought. And the little Marie's love for Stewart, grown to be a part of her, was largely maternal. She held him by mothering him, by keeping him comfortable, not by a great reciprocal passion that might in time have brought him to her in chains.

And now he was uncomfortable. He chafed against the confinement; he resented the food, the weather. Even Marie's content at her unusual leisure irked him. He accused her of purring like a cat by the fire, and stamped out more than once, only to be driven in by the curious thunderstorms of early Alpine winter.

On the night of the second day the weather changed. Marie, awakening early, stepped out on to the balcony and closed the door carefully behind her. A new world lay beneath her, a marvel of glittering branches, of white plain far below; the snowy mane of the Raxalpe was become a garment. And from behind the villa came the cheerful sound of sleigh-bells, of horses' feet on crisp snow, of runners sliding easily along frozen roads. Even the barking of the dog in the next yard had ceased rumbling and become sharp staccato.

The balcony extended round the corner of the house. Marie, eagerly discovering her new world, peered about, and seeing no one near ventured so far. The road was in view, and a small girl on ski was struggling to prevent a collision between two plump feet. Even as Marie saw her the inevitable happened and she went headlong into a drift. A governess who had been kneeling before a shrine by the road hastily crossed herself and ran to the rescue.

It was a marvelous morning, a day of days. The governess and the child went on out of vision. Marie stood still, looking at the shrine. A drift had piled about its foot, where the governess had placed a bunch of Alpine flowers. Down on her knees on the balcony went the little Marie, regardless of the snow, and prayed to the shrine of the Virgin below--for what? For forgiveness? For a better life? Not at all. She prayed that the heels of the American girl would keep her in out of the snow.

The prayer of the wicked availeth nothing; even the godly at times must suffer disappointment. And when one prays of heels, who can know of the yearning back of the praying? Marie, rising and dusting her chilled knees, saw the party of Americans on the road, clad in stout boots and swinging along gayly. Marie shrugged her shoulders resignedly. She should have gone to the shrine itself; a balcony was not a holy place. But one thing she determined--the Americans went toward the Sonnwendstein. She would advise against the Sonnwendstein for that day.

Marie's day of days had begun wrong after all. For St

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